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As Legislative Session Begins, Nevada Groups Push For Office Of Recreation

Groups Want Lawmakers To Protect Public Lands And Support Local Businesses

February 04, 2019 - 1:30 pm

CARSON CITY, NV (KXNT) - Conservation groups are hopeful that lawmakers or the governor will create a new state-funded Office of Outdoor Recreation to promote and protect the state's wild spaces.

The legislative session began Monday and conservation groups are asking lawmakers to create a state-level Office of Outdoor Recreation to protect our public lands and support the businesses that depend on them. A 2018 study showed that Nevada's outdoor industry supports 87-thousand jobs and generates 12-point six billion dollars in consumer spending and 4-billion dollars in tax revenue. Meghan Wolf, environmental activism manager for Patagonia, said the outdoor industry merits a statewide platform.

"We think that an office can help give both recognition, structure and protection because this wouldn't work without a conservation component, to help support this industry," said Wolf.

12 other states already have such an office; they include Colorado, where the office managed to attract a major conference, the Outdoor Retailer Show to Denver.

Wolf also said Nevada's ample opportunities for hiking, biking, camping, fishing, hunting, and skiing contribute to a great quality of life. But she adds that the wild places need state protection. 

"There is the problem of loving these places to death. I mean, that is a real concern," said Wolf. "So we think that recognition will bring more funding for conservation as well," she said.

A bill to create an Office of Outdoor Recreation is currently in the works, and discussions are ongoing between the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Lieutenant Governor's office on how to balance conservation with economic development.